Every Easter the modern print media, trying to bolster sales, publishes “new” and “shocking” “evidence” that claims that Jesus wasn’t who he really said he was. Did you see their magazines at the grocery checkout right before Easter?
This year it’s the claim that Jesus had a wife, based off of a manuscript three centuries after Jesus lived. Not only has every reputable historian repudiated that claim, but, more important, who cares what someone three centuries after Jesus said about him?
Three hundred years from now if people claim I was purple and loved opera, does it really matter? I’m not and I don’t. Everyone knows that now, and more importantly anyone will be able to easily find that out 300 years from now if they do just the tiniest amount of research.
Was Jesus A Man Turned Into A God?
The ongoing issue that is constantly raised around Easter is popular liberal scholarship’s ongoing claim that Jesus was really a man, who, over decades and decades, was eventually turned into a god.
The argument goes something like this:
- The gospels cannot be taken at face value. They are not historically reliable.
- Since the gospels are not historically reliable, we must read between the lines about what was really going on.
- Reading between the lines it becomes clear that what really happened was the earliest Christians were attributing miracles to Jesus, so many in fact that he was eventually turned into God himself.
Makes perfect sense, right? Except for one thing: a little something historians like to call facts.
There is no evidence to support this wildly unsubstantiated claim. In fact, when we examine the gospels, we see the exact opposite.
The Evidence Of The Gospels
There is broad scholarly support that The Gospel of Mark was the first gospel, written sometime in the mid to late 60’s, followed by Matthew and Luke, and finally The Gospel of John, penned sometime in the 90’s.
Gospel of Mark (65 a.d.) -> Gospel of John (90’s a.d)
That’s at least 25 years between the time the first gospel was written to the last.
One might assume then that given the early church’s supposed penchant for attributing miracles to Jesus, that in Mark, the earliest gospel, Jesus would have performed only a handful of miracles, but in John, the latest, Jesus would be portrayed as the Michael Phelps of the miracle working world.
Is that what really happened?
Of course not.
Here’s how many miracles are attributed to Jesus in each gospel:
Gospel of Mark: 19
Gospel of John: 8
See that? The number of miracles decreased, not increased.
Grappling With The Facts
The early church never attributed miracles to Jesus. They simply reported the miracles he performed.
No re-writing of history.
No making a man into a God.
The early church simply did what we would have done in their shoes: they told the truth.
As the author of The Gospel of John wrote,
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim…”